second book, tentatively entitled Langley:The Seasons,
will be published in the fall by Friesens Printers in Manitoba.
His first book, Langley: Familiar Places, Familiar Scenes,
was a best seller in British Columbia.
naturally have a different appreciation of the photographer
than we do of the artist. Artists after all create the paintings
we see. They begin with an empty canvas onto which they dab
and stroke and smear the colours of their passion and imagination
until, by a mystery that even they do not understand, they are
finally satisfied. They operate with tortuously demanding dexterity
to produce works that are wonderfully original. It’s as
if they give birth. By comparison, photographers don’t
give birth, they adopt. They capture what is already there,
deftly revealing the dynamic of the real world we might routinely
It’s a common
misconception that all that is needed to take a good picture
is a camera. Really, how hard can it be? Just point the camera
at something that looks good or interesting and fire away. But
every now and then we come upon a photograph that unexpectedly
seizes our attention, and for a time we are completely captivated
by it. Then, we may be humbled to accept how composing a photograph
that might illicit some real appreciation is a task that is
far more demanding and unforgiving than we ever imagined.
Perhaps it is a
little too dramatic to claim that a good picture rescues the
world from oblivion. But offering even the smallest thought
to that claim begs the conclusion. How many times, for example,
have we stood unawares among the wonders around us that, by
some inexplicable conjuring, unravel themselves before the photographer’s
eyes. Those moments are the ones we spend beside a crumbling
stone building waiting for the next crowded bus; or walking
past a wilting bed of foxglove; or moving like pigeons through
the scatter of those deep sidewalk shadows thrown onto our path
by high-rise buildings as they gorge on stolen sunlight.
There is a basic
instinctive response we all have to pictures in which a person
is included. No matter how small a single individual may be
in the larger picture, our eyes are instantly attracted to him.
A good photograph can indeed be a sort of friend or personal
place we visit so we can relive or rejoin in a shared experience
with whomever is in the photograph. That is so because every
individual represents us. Good
photographs have the potential to help us recognize or ponder
what and where and even who we are. There are some pictures
we want to have with us because they help ground us and over
time become part of our continuity in life.
here are pictures from John Gordon, a man who cannot help but
do what he does. His work comprises the long dissolved miracles
he has rescued from the secret world of the obvious. The auras
of our passing hang in the air all around these images and we
return to our lost moments to discover that is where we were
once, where we always were and where we are now and if we cannot
take good pictures to do our presence justice, John Gordon can.
more of John’s work, visit his website: www.johngordonsphotography.com
Photos © John